By KENNETH P. VOGEL
President Obama’s hometown allies have brought Chicago to the brink of landing the 2016 Olympic Games, but after Obama makes the city’s case before the International Olympic Committee Friday morning in Copenhagen, the president’s own legacy will become inextricably intertwined with the fate of Chicago’s bid.
History has shown that’s not always a good thing.
Much has been made of the potential international embarrassment and Republican attacks Obama might endure if the IOC rejects his pitch. Yet, any such backlash would likely have limited shelf-life, but a successful outcome in Copenhagen could arm opponents with ammunition for more than six years, particularly if preparations for the Chicago Games were beset by the delays, cost-over-runs and controversies that have plagued Olympics past.
Add the reputation for political corruption in Chicago and Illinois, and you’ve got the basis for a joke making the rounds in Copenhagen, where the IOC also will vote on whether to include rugby and golf in the 2016 Olympics.
“If they’re going to add a new sport for the Chicago Olympics, corruption would be great one – they’re really good at that,” said David Wallechinsky, vice president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, which is meeting in Copenhagen.
In all seriousness, Wallechinsky said, “I would assume that if Chicago gets the games, Obama would say ‘great,’ and then move on and try to stay clear of it for 6 years. I would, if I were him.”
On October 2nd the IOC will elect the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Each city will give final presentations to the voting International Olympic Committee members. The drawn order of the presentations is Chicago, Tokyo, Rio and Madrid. Each city will have 70 minutes including a period for questions and answers.
After the presentations, the Evaluation Commission will review their report with the IOC members.
Voting will commence a 5:10 PM local time in Copenhagen – it will be by secret electronic balloting.
Any city requires 50% +1 votes to win a ballot. If no city receives enough votes to win, the bid with the least amount of votes is dropped from the ballot and the remaining cities are added to a new ballot. There could be as many as three ballots.
There are currently 106 IOC members. Members representing countries with a bid city on the ballot may not vote. There are two members from the United States, two from Japan, two from Brazil and one from Spain. These members may vote in subsequent ballots if their city is eliminated.
There is one suspended member who may not vote and the IOC President Jacques Rogge will not vote. In total, there are 97 eligible votes on the first ballot. This number may be reduced if any voters are excused.
If there is a tie vote on he final ballot – the IOC President can cast a tie-breaking vote.
After each ballot the IOC President will announce either that a winner has been declared or he will name the city that is eliminated from the next ballot. After the final ballot, the name of the winning city is sealed until the annoucement ceremony at 6:30 PM local time.
After the announcement, the host city contract signing will folllow at 7:30 PM.
Although Chicago is rated as a slight favourite to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the BBC reports many commentators are describing the outcome as too close to call.
British International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sir Craig Reedie said, “this is a very, very close race between four outstanding bids. Because the bids are so good, and because it is close, the last few hours are going to be even more exciting than usual”.
The city receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated round-by-round until one candidate has a majority.
IOC President Jacques Rogge told the BBC, “I believe it’s going to be very close – this is a trend we have seen in the last five to six years.
He added, “security – not only physical but also in terms of the organization – it is very important. We need a very good Olympic Village, state-of-the art venues, a good transportation system. If beyond that we can have a very good home team and a very warm public, the game is almost over”.
British bookmakers say that Chicago was pulling away in the last hours as the clear but not overwhelming favourite over Rio, with Madrid and Tokyo lagging, reports Fox. But Graham Sharpe, spokesman for betting agency William Hill said, “…don’t forget that Paris was the favourite to beat London the last time. The favourite doesn’t always win”.
The bookmakers of Ireland-based Paddy Power say there’s a clear favourite in the betting on the 2016 host city. Paddy Power has collected about 700 bets on who may be the 2016 host city, reports WBBM.
Sharon McHugh, spokeswoman for Paddy Power, says Chicago’s odds are 8-15, while Rio is in second place at 15-8. But McHugh agrees anything can happen. She said, “this time four years ago we thought Paris had it in the bag, so we could get a shock”.
McHugh says it’s President Obama’s plans to go to Copenhagen that have pushed the odds so heavily in Chicago’s favour.
Since Sept. 16, the team of engineers, carpenters and others has hustled to create 12-story countdown numbers by illuminating and shading offices on the building’s south side. Wednesday night was “2″ — a tricky numeral because of its curves and points. Thursday night will be “1,” which is more difficult than it looks, said Matt Amato, general manager for Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages the tower at 200 E. Randolph St.
Workers usually wait until office employees are gone to haul in ladders and step stools. They politely ask late-working tenants to leave their lights on or to allow a shade to be taped up as they work, Amato said.
People don’t always remember.
“There have been plenty of nights where I or another staff member has stood out in the middle of Millennium Park to see how it looks and then we see there’s a light missing on the 50th floor, the fourth window,” Amato said.
In those cases, workers use walkie-talkies to communicate the glitch back to staff, who make necessary adjustments inside the building.
Aon’s countdown, which has required a different Excel spreadsheet design and change of window dressing every night for more than two weeks, is the building’s most ambitious to date, Amato said.
The art of illuminating giant messages onto buildings has become a popular form of expression across the Chicago skyline. CNA Center, 333 S. Wabash Ave., lit up with the Chicago Blackhawks logo last year when the team went to the playoffs. The Blue Cross Blue Shield building, 300 E. Randolph St., offered “USA” in lights on Election Night.
If Chicago wins the Olympic bid, Aon and other prominent downtown buildings plan to light up with “2016″ in celebration.
And if Chicago loses?
“We’re not planning on losing,” Amato said, brightly.
By NANCY ARMOUR (AP)
COPENHAGEN — They shelved long-awaited plans for a TV network after only a month, and made nice with International Olympic Committee members who think they’re hogging the piggy bank.
They even smoothed things over with the disgruntled staffers in their own organization.
U.S. Olympic Committee leaders are on their best behavior as the host city vote for the 2016 Summer Games approaches Friday.
If Chicago wins, a lot of the USOC’s problems become more manageable. If Chicago loses, well, it’s going to be a bumpy next few months, with tricky financial issues and questions of direction likely coming to the forefront.
“What having the games in your country does, it enables you to go down a path where you can just create further opportunity for programs, for legacy building, for building international relationships, for the United States to demonstrate our commitment to the Olympic movement,” said Stephanie Streeter, the USOC’s acting CEO.
The USOC’s relationship with the Euro-centric IOC (almost half of the 106 members are European) is always a delicate thing.
The IOC needs the United States — its biggest chunk of revenue comes from NBC’s $2.2 billion broadcasting deal for 2010 and 2012 — and resents that it does. There also is lingering anger over the Salt Lake City bid scandal and, until recently, the USOC’s history of acting more like a patrician than a partner.
Add in the USOC’s propensity for dysfunction — it went through six presidents and CEOs from 2000 to 2003 — and it’s hardly a surprise the two bodies have had personality clashes recently.
Courtesy of ChicagoPhotoShop.com
Years of plans, hopes and dreams all come down to this: A nail-biting hour
By Philip Hersh - Tribune reporter
COPENHAGEN — – Most of the International Olympic Committee’s members have only one significant decision-making role, and they get to exercise it only every two years.
That role is voting for Olympic host cities in an election that since 1991 has taken place seven years before the Winter or Summer Olympics in question.
The balloting in Copenhagen on Friday, when the IOC chooses Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo or Madrid as host of the 2016 Summer Games, is planned to last about an hour.
The result will be announced on a global telecast beginning at 11:30 a.m. Chicago time, at least an hour after voting is scheduled to end. Because of the time lapse, the suspense undoubtedly will turn the supporters of each candidate into emotional basket cases.
“We had a bunch of people who needed to be drugged, they were so nervous,” said Billy Payne, who ran both Atlanta’s successful bid for the 1996 Summer Games and its organizing committee.
“I remember thinking, ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. What matters is it will be over.’ It was a little bonus when he [former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch] said, ‘Atlanta.’ “
It took Atlanta the maximum number of rounds in 1990 to achieve the necessary majority against its five rivals. It did not go ahead of runner-up Athens until the fourth of the five rounds.
“It was an emotionally and physically exhausting process — the final 20 minutes more so than the six years that followed,” Payne said.
This is how the process will work in Copenhagen:
First, the presentations Each city will tell its story Friday for the final time in 45-minute presentations with another 15 minutes for IOC members’ questions. In an order determined by drawing lots last year, Chicago goes first, followed by Tokyo, Rio and Madrid.
Then the 106 IOC members vote — or don’t
The 106 eligible members — not all are guaranteed to be on hand — vote secretly by pressing numbered buttons (one for each candidate) on machines.
Members in a country with a candidate cannot vote until that city is eliminated. That means there will be 99 eligible voters in the first round, since Brazil, Japan and the United States each have two IOC members, while Spain has one. Sometimes not even all the members who are present cast a vote. In the two-round election that made Vancouver the 2010 Winter Games host, four eligible IOC members did not vote in the first round and three did not vote in the second round. The missing votes could have changed the outcome.
“You can’t force people to vote,” IOC member Denis Oswald of Switzerland said at the time.
Now that we’ve gotten Barack Obama out of the way, look for some real surprises later this week in Chicago’s quest for the 2106 Olympian rings.
Sources close to the Chicago 2016 delegation tell me there’s plans for some high drama, highlighted by a big surprise or two.
Until today, many speculated that Obama would play coy until the 11th hour, and swoop into Copenhagen for a “surprise” visit. Now the Obama trip is definitely on. The White House has confirmed that the president and his wife “will both make presentations to the IOC during Friday’s session,” the AP reports. The White House says “they will discuss why Chicago is best to host the 2016 Summer Games, and how the United States is eager to bring the world together to celebrate the ideals of the Olympic movement.” The International Olympic Committee will take a final vote on the 2016 site on Friday.
So now, look for the other shoe to drop: A certain size 13 Air Nike, worn by America’s most famous living athlete—Michael Jordan.
Last week, after a month of speculation, the Jordan option seemed to vanish when his name failed to appear on an official roster of the “presentation team” headed for Denmark for Friday’s big decision.
Estee Portnoy, a spokesperson for the basketball phenom, told ABC-7: “I am not able to confirm Michael’s plans. He continues to be extremely supportive. He’s done everything the committee has asked him to do.” (I am unable to confirm—right now)
That sounds like the door is still open for Jordan to make a bombshell appearance by joining Chicago’s “Olympic Dream Team,” led by mega stars like the Obamas, and talk queen Oprah Winfrey.
It wouldn’t be a bad spot for His Airness to land. The Bull’s star and two-time Olympian is still the best-known American in many corners of the world. And it’s about time for some payback to the city that made him famous. Besides, even if Jordan is only motivated by self-interest, he would be doing himself a major favor as well. It would give him a chance to be gracious and rescue a reputation sullied by what some call his recent “petty” and “resentment-tinged” acceptance speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Will he or won’t he? I’m betting the Chicago team is plotting to get Jordan on stage in Denmark, where he can do his trademark “I’m back” dance one more time—help Chicago make history—one more time.
CHICAGO, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ — Regardless of the Chicago 2016 outcome, Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Chicago and suburbs will toast us all with a FREE medium coffee all day, Monday, October 5.
“Of course, we all hope to be celebrating the 2016 Summer Games coming to our city, but win or lose, the free 14-ounce coffee is Dunkin’ Donuts’ way of saying thank you to Chicago for all the support and hard work in showcasing our city,” said Kathy Nowicki, field marketing manager for Dunkin’ Donuts.
The free medium coffee is available all day, October 5, at all of the nearly 500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Chicago and suburbs. No purchase necessary and limit one per customer.
Based in Canton, Massachusetts, Dunkin’ Donuts is a subsidiary of Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com.
by Ryan Smith
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Images of the brutal beating death of Chicago honor student Albert Derrion have shocked the nation, but it could also have international repercussions.
Photos: Derrion Albert Beating Death Video
An uncut cell phone video, which has been widely distributed across the Web and television, shows teens viciously kicking and striking the 16-year-old with splintered railroad ties in an attack that left him dead.
The murder is carnal, brutal, and scary.
It’s with this backdrop that Michele Obama is now in Copenhagen trying to impress International Olympic Committee members that Chicago is the right place to bring the 2016 Olympics. Her husband, President Barack Obama, is set to join her later this week.
Will the appalling video overshadow the First Family’s efforts? It may be too soon to know.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the video is “chilling” and that the topic came up at President Barack Obama’s morning meeting in the Oval Office.
Gibbs on Wednesday said that reporters they should expect an administration response to the “heinous crime” shortly.
“This is not just a Chicago-specific problem,” Gibbs said. “Obviously, youth crime and gang violence are something that this administration takes seriously. And we’ll have more on that soon.”
Gibbs added that though the government cannot regulate what’s in people’s hearts, the White House believes such crimes call for community involvement.
As head of Chicago’s delegation to the Internaional Olympic Committee (IOC), and her husband’s representative until he arrives Friday, Mrs. Obama plans to meet with as many members as possible to try to persuade them to pick her hometown over Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.
“I’m so happy to be here, so excited,” Mrs. Obama said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re not taking anything for granted, so I’m going to go talk to some voters.”